Editor’s note: Steven Millman is the global head of research and data science at Dynata.

Buckle up, market researchers. If you thought the explosion of generative AI and large language models in 2023 was intense, wait until you see the changes these technologies will bring in 2024. 

The future of market research is on a collision course with generative AI and our industry will slog, struggle, succeed and learn from mistakes as we collectively figure out what to do with the newly democratized power of AI. 2024 promises to be a year where status quos are shattered, new existential risks emerge and our accomplishments are limited only by our imaginations. 

A futurist at heart, I like to think about both what’s likely and what’s possible. When considering the implications of gen AI on the market research industry, I have five predictions about what to expect in the next year.

Remember that fancy new gen AI tool you thought was cutting edge? Well, the needle moved and that tool has already become nothing more than boring, basic table stakes. As a wave of creative new models and technologies hit the market, tools worth a news release less than a year ago are now the minimum expectation. Market research companies should, of course, take advantage of basic generative AI applications – e.g., translation, text coding and summarization – but to be considered innovators, they will need to be far more creative with these technologies.

2024 will bring a shift away from one-size-fits-all models for general applications within our industry. Instead, there will be a move to domain-specific AI, where models are trained on a company’s own unique data, your clients' data and/or industry-specific data sets. These specialized, bespoke models will yield deeper, more nuanced insights, tailored to specific kinds of research and to the specific needs of each project or client. LLMs trained on a company’s own data...